I’m always surprised at how much I cram into these update posts. Most days I think “Man, what am I going to write? How many times can I say ‘wrote an extra … words this month? I feel good about it, but still have a long way to go!” But then by the time I write the post I realise that I actually have a lot to say. So without further rambling, this is my news for the month of April (Yay, autumn! Finally Australia is starting to cool down again!)
1.Hopefully you will all have noticed the new and improved cover for The Northumbrian Saga. You haven’t? Oh this is awkward! It’s kinda on your right hand side there… yep there you go champ! well done! 😉
Anywho, I thought it might grab people’s attention a bit more, but more importantly I think it sets a better tone for what the story is about. After all, you usually see the cover before you read the blurb and even though I loved the cover picture of Bamburgh Castle by D_turner, it needed something extra. So thanks to the lovely photography of New Zealander Cathleen Tarawhiti and the very beautiful model, Harriette Ramaekers, I was able to come up with this. I hope you all like it.
Cathleen not only produces amazing stock images on Deviantart for a very reasonable price, but she is very successful at creating cover art for books as well. A look at her galleries is well worth it. (also available on facebook and Pinterest)
2. I have joined twitter. I am now a twit (officially). I don’t really know how this is going to go. I have only recently weened myself off of Facebook (although I still post links to my weekly blogs and any info I find interesting on occassion), and I really do spend more time than is necessary on Google+, so as far as twitter goes I may be a ghost in the background or (hopefully not) one of those annoying people who tweet all the time! It’s not like I have a lot of time on my hands, but I thought that it might be a good channel to easily get information and news on history, archaeology and the craft of writing.
So if you follow twitter then add me! @AHGray866 (866AD: the first attack on York)
3. I have been getting some good reviews lately, and by good I don’t necessarily mean raving or favourable! One of them was a one star review on Amazon which of course was a bit of a confidence shaker, but at least they were honest and mentioned what they didn’t like about it. The second review was a lot nicer and more constructive. Basically they loved the story and they loved the historical info that went into it. The only thing they thought needed improving was spelling (I don’t know how many times I and others have been through this manuscript, and mistakes keep coming out at us), but also dialogue and narrative. So this is my New Year’s resolution: dialogue and narrative are going to the top of the list of things to improve. Most of the dialogue is being described as too modern. Even though I love books with olde world dialogue I didn’t want that for TNS. I wanted it to feel a bit more modern, a bit more Vikings (TV show)/ Bernard Cornwell etc. But I do accept that there were a lot of things that needed to be ousted. So! I am going to attempt to tone that down too. You live and you learn and I am excited that I now have a direction to guide me for my other books. Positive thoughts people!!!
4. Concerning TNS2, well no surprises that I have found it really hard getting back into writing after my trip. No problem writing blog posts, but when it comes to the novel I just sit there staring at my notes, or spell checking what I have previously written. One scene I tried to start wasn’t even a big one; all I needed were a few sentences. It was a fight scene as well so it should have been fun, but instead I sat for ages listening to rock music, trying to get some inspiration for describing the beginning of a raid. This turned into me cultivating a ‘battle scene music list’ of all my music. So it is coming along, just very slowly for now as I get back into the swing of life and the day job.
5. I have also found that the word count has been playing on my mind. A LOT! So far I am well under what I wrote for TNS 1 but at 80 000 words already and the beginning requiring a lot of work to get it to standard, i’m starting to worry that the whole work will be too long. I know I shouldn’t worry at this stage and that I should just write it all and then chop and change at the end, but it’s proving to be a bit of a psychological road block. I’m starting to censor my work even before it’s on the page. Do I really need this scene? Should I write a scene here when it should really just be a sentence? This is great for the editing process but i’m not quite there yet. Plus, as I re read the first draft I have realised that a lot of the events do need explaining more (there really is a benefit to letting your first draft ‘rest’).
I don’t really want to split the books up as I wanted each book to be a person’s life story; a different descendant for each book. But the more I re-work the first few chapters, the more I realise that I still have a long way to go.
Maybe I am freaking out prematurely. Next month I may write saying i’m back to having only one book. But honestly, at this stage, I can’t see how that can happen. So as it stands right at this moment, I will have two shorter books on the one person’s life: The Welsh Chronicle and The Irish Fragments. I guess by next month this may have changed so stayed tuned!